Salesforce certification guide: Roles, paths, exams, cost, training, requirements
Salesforce skills are among the most sought-after in the IT industry and demand is soaring. The most performant CRM system today, Salesforce is a core technology for digital business, and its associated applications and ecosystem help make it in a leading platform for those seeking a lucrative IT career.
Salesforce certification is an excellent path for acquiring niche knowledge and skills to push your IT career forward. Salesforce’s certification scheme changes often, and its paths and prerequisites can be confusing. Following is an up-to-date guide on certifications that Salesforce offers to help you earn a competitive edge leading to new opportunities.
Benefits of Salesforce certifications
Salesforce jobs range from the technical (architects, developers, implementation experts) to those related to marketing and sales. Each role varies in terms of the required depth of understanding of Salesforce platform.
Earning Salesforce certifications can set you apart for lucrative roles. The average salary for an entry-level Salesforce administrator is around US$100,750, and senior Salesforce administrators make approximately US$128,000, according to Salesforce Ben. According to a study by Indeed.com, 70% of Salesforce developers in the US are satisfied with their salaries given the cost of living in their area.
Salesforce certification overview
Salesforce certifications are based on a role-based scheme centered on six roles: Administrator, Architect, Consultant, Designer, Developer, and Marketer. Details about the certifications and certification paths for these roles are available below.
Salesforce Administrator certifications
Salesforce administrator certification emphasizes admin functions, including defining user requirements, customizing the platform, and helping users get the most out of Salesforce. The certification is offered at two levels: Administrator and Advanced Administrator. Administrators can earn additional certifications for app building, CPQ (configure price quote), and business analysis (see below).
A Salesforce Certified Administrator manages and maintains an organization’s Salesforce CRM system. This includes creating and modifying user accounts, managing data, creating and maintaining custom fields and objects, and configuring the system to meet organizational needs. The Salesforce Administrator certification demonstrates a candidate’s in-depth knowledge of the platform’s configuration and customization, as well as their proficiency with the platform’s features. To earn this cert, candidates should know how to maintain and modify Sales Cloud and Service Cloud applications; manage users, data, and security; and construct dashboards, reports, and workflows.
Salesforce Advanced Administrator
A Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator has more advanced knowledge and experience compared to a Salesforce Administrator. They handle complex tasks such as customizing the platform, configuring advanced security features, and optimizing performance while ensuring the platform aligns with company requirements and goals. To earn the Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification, candidates should understand advanced Salesforce admin capabilities and be skilled at designing advanced reports, dashboards, and automation processes.
Salesforce CPQ Specialist
A Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist is responsible for implementing and maintaining the Salesforce CPQ solution for an organization, ensuring accurate pricing and quotation processes while providing technical support to streamline sales operations. The Salesforce CPQ Specialist certification demonstrates a candidate’s ability to implement Salesforce CPQ solutions, design and build quoting flows to meet customer requirements, and troubleshoot platform issues. A candidate who earns the certification will have proved their ability to build bundle configurations, pricing, output documents, and renewals and amendments.
Salesforce Architect certifications
Salesforce Architects design and implement solutions on the Salesforce platform to meet specific organizational needs. This includes managing the technical aspects of Salesforce, such as customizing objects, fields, and validation rules, as well as developing and maintaining integrations with other systems.
Salesforce Application Architect
A Salesforce Certified Application Architect designs and develops custom solutions on the Salesforce platform. This certification requires deep understanding of Salesforce features and functionality, as well as the ability to model a role hierarchy, data model, and appropriate sharing mechanisms. While there is no cost associated with this certification, to earn this credential, candidates must complete all four certifications, each of which has its own associated exam and fee:
Salesforce Certified Data ArchitectSalesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility ArchitectSalesforce Certified Platform Developer I (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)
Salesforce Data Architect
A Salesforce Certified Data Architect designs and manages the data architecture and data integration strategies for a Salesforce implementation, ensuring data quality, security, and integrity to support business requirements and drive effective decision-making. To earn the Salesforce Data Architect certification, candidates should be able to design and implement data solutions within the Salesforce ecosystem, such as data modelling, data integration and data governance.
Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect
A Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Architect is responsible for designing and implementing the access controls, sharing models, and security settings in Salesforce, to ensure the appropriate sharing of data within an organization and protection of sensitive information. The Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Architect certification is designed for architects, analysts, and administrators with the knowledge and skills to design secure, scalable security models on Force.com. To earn this certification, a candidate should be good at communicating technical solutions to technical stakeholders and ensuring quality and success through a structured project delivery framework.
Salesforce System Architect
A Salesforce certified System Architect focuses on the overall architecture of a Salesforce implementation, including the design of custom solutions, data architecture, security, performance, and scalability. The certification emphasizes testing, governance, and integration with external systems within an organization’s infrastructure. While there is no cost associated with this certification, to earn this credential, candidates must complete all four certifications, each of which has its own associated exam and fee:
Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment ArchitectSalesforce Certified Identity and Access Management ArchitectSalesforce Certified Integration ArchitectureSalesforce Certified Platform Developer I (see below under Salesforce Developer certification)
Salesforce Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer
A Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer designs and manages the development, testing, and deployment processes for Salesforce projects. The Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect credential is designed for those experienced with applying DevOps, Application Lifecycle Management, and governance to support client requirements.
Salesforce Identity and Access Management Designer
A Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management Architect designs and implements security and access controls for a Salesforce implementation. The Salesforce Certified Identity and Access Management credential demonstrates a candidate’s knowledge, skills and capabilities at assessing identity architecture and designing secure, high-performance access management solutions on Customer 360.
Salesforce Integration Architect
A Salesforce Certified Integration Architecture designs and implements integration strategies between Salesforce and other systems, ensuring seamless data exchange and the optimization of business processes through use of APIs, middleware, and other technologies. The Salesforce Integration Architect credentials exam shows a candidate’s fluency in effectively communicating technical solutions to technical stakeholders and providing a project delivery framework that ensures quality and success.
Salesforce B2B Solution Architect
A B2B (business-to-business) Solution Architect designs and implements solutions for businesses that operate in B2B context, leveraging Salesforce to optimize business processes, improve customer engagement, and drive growth for the organization. Prerequisites include earning Salesforce Application Architect certification (see above). Candidates must then successfully pass the Salesforce B2B Solution Architect exam, which tests their ability to architect and drive multicloud B2B solutions that deliver business value for the customer.
Salesforce B2C Solution Architect
A Salesforce Certified B2C Solution Architect designs and implements solutions for businesses that operate in a B2C (business-to-consumer) context, leveraging Salesforce to enhance customer experiences, improve customer relationships, and drive growth. Once candidates have completed the three prerequisite certifications (chart below), they must successfully pass the Salesforce B2C Solution Architect exam, which tests their ability to design and implement multicloud solutions, as well as their understanding of the Salesforce Customer 360 Vision and Platform.
Salesforce B2C Commerce Architect
A B2C Commerce Architect designs and implements commerce solutions for businesses that operate in a B2C (business-to-consumer) context. The B2C Commerce Architect Certification is designed for candidates who have expertise in designing global sites that support multiple brands and channels using standard design patterns and storefront integrations. Certification also designed for candidates with knowledge of the commerce ecosystem and solution architecture, including primary integrations for client business needs and process flows.
Salesforce Heroku Architect
A Salesforce Certified Heroku Architect designs and implements scalable, secure, high-performance applications on Heroku, leveraging the platform’s capabilities to deliver business-critical solutions for the organization. The Salesforce Heroku Architect certification is targeted for a Heroku Consultant or Partner who understands how to build scalable apps on Heroku and to apply Heroku best practices within the enterprise, as well as how to integrate Heroku apps with Salesforce via database, API, and event systems.
Salesforce Technical Architect
A Salesforce Certified Technical Architect designs and leads the implementation of complex, enterprise-level Salesforce solutions that align with an organization’s business objectives and technical requirements. Candidates must have hands-on experience as follows before taking the exam:
Over five years of implementation experience, including development, across the full software development lifecycleOver three years of experience in an architect roleOver two years of experience on the Lightning Platform with at least one of those in a lead architect role, implementing Salesforce applications and technologies
The prerequisite include earning the Salesforce Application Architect (see above) and Salesforce System Architect (see above) certifications both of which are granted after all respective prerequisites for each is completed.
To earn the Salesforce Technical Architect certification (post completion of the prerequisite and experience), the candidate must successfully pass the Architect Review Board Evaluation (step 1) and the Architect Review Board Exam (step 2).
Technical Architect Review Board Evaluation: The candidate must review and solve a hypothetical situation and then present their solution to a panel of evaluators, who lead a question-and-answer session after the presentation.
Technical Architect Review Board Exam:
Salesforce Consultant certification
Salesforce offers 10 certifications for customer-facing consultants who design and implement solutions in their area of expertise. In addition to the 10 they can also pursue Salesforce marketing cloud consultant certification covered under Salesforce marketing certifications
Salesforce Business Analyst
A Salesforce Certified Business Analyst bridges the gap between business requirements and technical solutions, using their knowledge of Salesforce to analyze, design, and recommend solutions that drive success for the organization. The Salesforce Business Analyst Certification tests a candidate’s ability to capture requirements, collaborate with stakeholders, and support the development of solutions that drive business improvements.
Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce Certified Education Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions for the education industry using Salesforce Education Cloud. The Salesforce Education Cloud Consultant certification demonstrates that a candidate has experience consulting within the education industry and has expertise in Salesforce applications, including the knowledge required to apply several applications in common customer scenarios.
Experience Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce certified Experience Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions using Salesforce Experience Cloud. This includes leveraging the platform’s features to enhance customer experiences and improve business processes. The Salesforce Experience Cloud Consultant certification is for candidates with experience consulting on Experience Cloud in a customer-facing role and can troubleshoot and solve platform issues.
Salesforce Field Service Consultant
A Salesforce Field Service Consultant implements and optimizes the Field Service module within the Salesforce Service Cloud. This includes working with clients to design and configure FSL for their field service operations, such as scheduling, dispatch, and mobile workforce management, and providing ongoing support to ensure continued success with Field Service. The Salesforce Field Service Consultant certification recognizes professionals who design Salesforce solutions for customers and who administer and configure Salesforce applications on customer premises.
Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consultant plays a critical role in helping nonprofit organizations to utilize Salesforce for managing their operations. The role involves consulting with clients to understand their needs, customizing Salesforce to meet those needs, providing training and support, and ensuring that the platform is being used effectively and efficiently to support organizational goals. Candidates with this credential can successfully design and implement Nonprofit Cloud solutions that contribute to long-term customer success.
A Salesforce OmniStudio Consultant creates and implements solutions using Salesforce OmniStudio, working with clients to understand their business requirements and customizing the platform to meet those needs. The Salesforce OmniStudio Consultant certification is ideal for candidates with at least one year of Salesforce experience in one or more roles such as Business Analyst; Business Consultant; Solution Architect; Delivery Manager/Director; Project, Product, or Program Manager; or UX Designer
Salesforce Pardot Consultant
A Salesforce Pardot Consultant helps organizations maximize their investment in the Salesforce Pardot marketing automation platform, working with clients to understand their needs and leveraging use the platform to optimize lead generation. The Salesforce Pardot Consultant certification is for professionals experienced with implementing Pardot and who can explain Salesforce administration concepts that relate to Pardot features.
Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant helps organizations leverage Salesforce Sales Cloud to manage their sales processes. This includes configuring and customizing the platform, providing training and support to users, and implementing best practices for sales management. To earn the Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant certification, candidates must be able to design and implement Sales Cloud solutions, including application and interface design, and be able to manage and design analytics for tracking purposes.
Service Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant designs and implements solutions for a company’s customer service using Salesforce Service Cloud, working with clients to understand their business requirements and configuring the platform to suit their needs. This Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant certification recognizes individuals who design solutions for contact centers, as well as analytics solutions for metric tracking. This credential proves that you can design, build, and implement Service Cloud functionality.
Saleforce Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant
A Salesforce Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant helps organizations use Salesforce CRM, Tableau, and Einstein Discovery tools to manage customer relationships, visualize and analyze data, and make informed business decisions. The consultant provides implementation, customization, and integration expertise in these technologies, as well as training and support. The Tableau CRM & Einstein Discovery Consultant credential is intended for individuals experienced with data ingestion processes, security and access implementations, and dashboard creation.
Salesforce Marketing certification
Salesforce also offers certifications aimed at marketing professionals, including two for Salesforce’s B2B marketing automation platform Pardot. In addition to the detailed certifications below, Salesforce Marketeers can also pursue Marketing Cloud Developer certifications (covered under Salesforce Developer Certification) and Pardot Consultant certification (covered under Salesforce Consultant Certification).
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator
A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator manages and configures Salesforce Marketing Cloud to meet the organization’s marketing automation and communication needs. This involves setting up email templates, managing data, configuring integrations, and monitoring performance. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator certification tests a candidate’s ability to execute administrative functions within Marketing Cloud in accordance with business requirements.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant
A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant helping organizations use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to achieve their marketing goals, by identifying client needs, designing and implementing solutions, and providing ongoing support and training. To earn the Marketing cloud consultant certification candidates must be able to configure and implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email application tools and troubleshoot platform issues and should be able to provide solutions to execute both tactical and strategic email campaigns.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
A Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist designs, executes, and optimizes email marketing campaigns using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, ensuring the effective delivery of targeted and relevant messages to drive engagement and improve business outcomes. The Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification is designed for individuals who can demonstrate knowledge, skills, and experience in email marketing best practices in the areas of content creation, subscriber and data management, delivery, and analytics within the Marketing Cloud Email application.
Salesforce Pardot Specialist
A Salesforce Pardot Specialist manages and optimizes a company’s use of the Salesforce Pardot marketing automation platform. This includes configuring and customizing the platform to meet business needs, creating and executing marketing campaigns, analyzing and reporting on campaign performance, and ensuring the platform is integrated with other sales and marketing tools. To earn the Pardot Specialist certification, candidates should be able to design and build marketing campaigns within Pardot and be versed with email marketing, lead generation, and lead qualification.
Salesforce Designer certification
Salesforce offers two certifications under the Designer credentials: one centered around User Experience and the other around Strategy Designing.
Salesforce User Experience Designer
A Salesforce User Experience (UX) Designer designs and improves the UI and overall experience of Salesforce. This includes conducting user research, prototyping, testing, and creating user-centered design solutions to meet business requirements. The User Experience (UX) Designer credential is for candidates who have a baseline knowledge of problem-solving and design using core UX concepts and who are able to use Force.com’s core features.
Salesforce Strategy Designer
Salesforce Strategy Designer helps create and visualize sales and customer success strategies with Salesforce. The designer addresses challenges at the system level, maps out ecosystems, aligns stakeholders across organizations, and incorporates user insights to drive innovation. The Salesforce Strategy Designer Certification validates candidates’ ability to design systems-level solutions toward desired business and user outcomes. Candidates with this credential also have the expertise to lead innovation across product lifecycles.
Salesforce Developer certifications
Salesforce developer credentials are for professionals who build custom applications on the Force.com platform. This track includes the Salesforce Certified Platform Application Builder, which can also be applied to the Salesforce Administrator track. There are two types of developer certifications: the two-tiered platform developer credentials and one aimed at developing ecommerce solutions.
Salesfoce B2C Commerce Developer
A Salesforce B2C Commerce Developer designs, builds, and maintains the e-commerce platform for businesses to interact with their customers. They create custom functionality and integrate the platform with other systems to enhance the customer experience and drive sales. Candidates should be experienced full-stack developers for Salesforce B2C Commerce Digital. The B2C Commerce Developer certification is geared toward those adept at setting up the development environment, working with the digital data model, working with site content, using Salesforce Business Manager to perform site configuration tasks, using scripts to extend site business logic, interacting with external applications, optimizing site performance, and troubleshooting.
Salesforce Industries CPQ Developer
A Salesforce Industries CPQ Developer customizes and implements Salesforce CPQ solutions for clients in industries such as Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Financial Services. They work to streamline the quoting and proposal process by automating pricing, discounts, and product bundles while ensuring compliance with industry regulations. The Industries CPQ Developer certification is created for candidates who have experience developing configure, price, quote applications for Salesforce Communications, Media, and Energy & Utilities Clouds.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer
A Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer designs and implements marketing automation solutions using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, working with stakeholders to understand business requirements and to design effective marketing campaigns. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Developer certification is designed for candidates who can develope effective, personalized marketing assets such as emails, landing pages, and forms leveraging HTML, CSS, and AMPscript. To earn this cert, candidates should be proficient in SQL and have experience using Marketing Cloud APIs.
Salesforce OmniStudio Developer
A Salesforce OmniStudio Developer designs, develops, and maintains custom applications using Salesforce Lightning, Apex, and Visualforce. They also create, configure, and customize components in Salesforce OmniStudio. This Salesforce OmniStudio Developer credential demonstrates a candidate’s ability to develop cloud applications with OmniStudio declarative development tools, including FlexCards, OmniScripts, Integration Procedures, DataRaptors, Expression Sets and Decision Matrices, and Industry Consoles.
Salesforce Platform Application Builder
A Platform App Builder creates custom applications leveraging tools such as Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning components. The Salesforce Platform App Builder certification is for individuals who want to exhibit their skills in designing, building, and deploying custom applications on the Lightning Platform, including creating, managing, and updating data models, application security, business logic, and process automation.
Salesforce Platform Developer I
A Platform developer creates and deploys business logic and UIs using the programmatic capabilities of Lightning. The Salesforce Platform Developer I credential is intended for individuals experienced in building custom applications on Lightning.
Salesforce Platform Developer II
A Salesforce Platform Developer II builds custom solutions using Apex, Visualforce, and other programming languages. They play a crucial role in designing, coding, testing, and deploying complex business requirements to meet the needs of the organization. To achieve the Salesforce Platform Developer II certification candidates must be experts in the advanced programmatic capabilities of the Force.com platform and data modelling so they can develop complex business logic and interfaces on the platform. The certification involves a multiple-choice exam, a programming assignment, and an essay exam. To pass, candidates must be able to design, develop, test, and deploy maintainable, robust, and reusable programmatic solutions following Apex design patterns and object-oriented best practices.
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